Colorado quarterback Sefo Liufau spoke with Campus Insiders about potentially leading the Buffaloes to a Pac-12 title and how the program has changed under Mike MacIntyre.
The last time Colorado produced a winning season, it was 2005. The Buffaloes were still a part of the Big 12, and Gary Barnett was forced to resign amid off-the-field problems with the Colorado football program.
That was 11 years, three head coaches and a 43-90 record ago. Now, the Buffaloes are 8-2 in Mike MacIntyre’s fourth season as head coach, and they’re contending for a Pac-12 title as they sit in first place in the Pac-12 South division.
At the heart of Colorado’s success is senior quarterback Sefo Liufau. He’s completed 67.2 percent of his passes this season for 1,535 yards, 10 touchdowns and three interceptions. He’s also rushed for 314 yards and three touchdowns.
Liufau joined Campus Insiders ahead of the Buffaloes’ matchup with Washington State to discuss the turnaround taking place in Boulder.
“It would mean everything to go from four-win seasons and close losses over the past three years to a Pac-12 championship. It would mean everything to help turn the program around and leave it in a better spot than when I came here,” Liufau said. “I feel like the coaches have invested so much in me and my teammates. It’s time for us to give back. Winning a Pac-12 championship, especially with this senior class, would mean the world to me.”
Last season, the Buffaloes finished 4-9 and lost their last five games of the season. Liufau recalled a key moment this past offseason when MacIntyre brought the team together and raised the standard for his team.
“I think the biggest thing was in May when we had a team meeting. He [Coach MacIntyre] basically said, ‘It’s now or never. We either turn around the program now, or it’s not gonna be turned around while I’m here.’ Us as a team, we took it upon ourselves over the summer, took those words to heart, pushed ourselves and pushed each other. [We] just told ourselves to take it one day at a time, one game at a time. We put some lofty goals up there, and we’re pretty close to accomplishing those.”
Part of the success has been how well Liufau and wide receiver Shay Fields have clicked as a 1-2 combo. They’ve hooked up 40 times for 710 yards and eight touchdowns. Liufau gave credit to Fields and the offensive line for making his job easier.
“When the O-line is clicking, it makes it a lot easier in the passing game. And when you have someone like Shay, who can stretch the field, it makes it a lot easier as quarterback because it gives you options — both short and far.”
Regardless of how this season ends, as he said before, Liufau simply wants to help spark a new era for the Buffaloes. He wants people to think back and remember how he and the rest of the 2016 Colorado team changed the culture in Boulder.
Liufau hopes to see the Buffaloes get more respect on the recruiting trail, and he believes that will happen in the near future.
“I think it’s harder to get people to want to come to a program that’s rebuilding. To show that we’re not one of those teams that’ll get pushed around or lose close is big. The remodeling and renovation of our facilities is going to help recruiting. It’s just gonna bring more and more talent. Instead of waiting two or three years to reload and have a good team, hopefully, it’s on a yearly basis where we can add new talent, the maturity grows as the team goes, and there’s no let off.”